Time named the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, it’s “Person of the Year” yesterday. Facebook has only been around for four years but it’s almost hard to imagine the internet without it. And it is still growing. According to the Time article, 700,000 people a day are signing up. For me, however, Facebook kind of sucks. I’m tired of it. And I get the sense that I’m not alone in feeling this way.
I had shunned Twitter for a long time. People talking about Twitter around me made me feel like Grampa Simpson.
Then two friends and I had the brilliant idea to attend all 81 Pittsburgh Pirates home games and blog about it. In anticipation of how rich and famous this endeavor would make us, I created a Twitter account for our blog. Inevitably and sensibly, we did not follow through on our plan. I think I ended up going to fewer than 20 games and even that was like pulling teeth. Pulling my own teeth. Pulling my own teeth while watching my hapless team destroy the game of baseball nine innings at a time.
But out of the ashes of our blog arose a phoenix—I finally realized how hard the Twitter experience dominates Facebook. I’m sure many of you have already realized this. Congratulations. But for those of you who are still skeptical, here are five reasons why you should consider Twitter over Facebook. That’s not to say Facebook doesn’t still have its uses. By the end of this post I think you’ll agree that it is just simply inferior to Twitter.
A common objection to Twitter I hear is “I don’t care enough about celebrities to want to know what they’re thinking all the time.” I didn’t either. Until I started following them on Twitter and realized how f**king crazy they are. For one reason or another, most celebrities and athletes seem to take Twitter pretty seriously. You get to see who they really are. And, in most cases, they are vain, clueless, insane, and funny (either intentionally or unintentionally). It humanizes them too, you feel for them and what they’re going through.
Plus, most of them actually respond to their followers. And you’d be surprised how easy it is to bait them into arguments. There is no thrill like being insulted by someone you idolize.
It’s More Convenient
It just is. Facebook changes all the time. Some of its updates are good, but most decrease functionality and increase annoyance. Twitter changes too, but the basic foundations are still the same. You don’t have to spend any time reading a War and Peace-length privacy statement, figuring out how the hell to message people, and panicking when you realized you just accidentally “liked” someone’s status about how they lost their job. With Twitter you log in, get your information, and get out without having to decide if you want a “new profile” or without the embarrassment of accidentally typing your ex-girlfriend’s name in the status bar instead of the search bar.
The Memes are a lot less annoying
Tired of Farmville and mafia wars status updates/requests? Turned on by Sick of people posting some inane garbage like their bra color as their status? Embarrassed that so many of your friends and family changed their profile pictures to a cartoon character to “protest” child abuse? This is the picture I posted by the way
Well I’m tired of stupid Facebook memes too. I’m not going to lie to you, Twitter has some annoying memes. And some stupid/incoherent things will be trending (see fhyrew’s twitter flush post). But on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is a mosquito bite and 10 is having your eyeballs liquefied by the stings of poisonous mega-wasps, Twitter memes are a 2.75 and Facebook memes are a 9.8.
Your Mom is on Facebook
No, that isn’t a “your mother” joke so please hold your comments about how you “facebooked” my mom last night. The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is people over 50. Actually, the fastest growing demographic is probably Asian spambots. But people over 50 are an exploding demographic too. Facebook gets a whole lot less fun when you wake up at 2 pm to find that your mom has commented on all the pictures you were tagged in from last night. [I think I could write a novel about how much I hate the people who post and tag pictures before noon on the day after.] And I know some of you smart-asses are going to say “Hey, just don’t accept your mom’s friend request!” In addition to that making you a cruel and ungrateful child, it doesn’t solve the problem. Because it’s not just your mom that’s friending you on Facebook. It’s Aunt Carol and Uncle Bob, it’s your boss, it’s your high school geometry teacher, it’s the nice old lady from the dog park. They’re all there, and they’re going to seep into your Facebook life eventually. And none of them understand Facebook etiquette. So there they are writing on your wall, commenting on your statuses, and flooding your news feed. I have no idea about the demographics of Twitter, but I’ll tell you this—it’s a lot less of a geriatric home than Facebook.
Facebook is a social network.
And it’s great at that. But when you’re connected to your entire social network in a big public setting, it can be stifling. As I discussed in the above section, you might be embarrassed to post certain things because your parents are watching. Did you tell that “friend” you aren’t too fond of that you can’t make his birthday party because you’re feeling under the weather? Well the aforementioned obsessive compulsive photo-tagger or an accidental drunk status message might alert him to the fact that you are a lying liar. Want to complain about how a co-worker is getting on your nerves? Have fun running into her in the hall two minutes after you post it as your status while she is running to the bathroom with mascara streaming down her face, dreams of sexual harassment lawsuits dancing in her head. The other day I thought twice about posting pictures of my new girlfriend because she doesn’t exist it might offend an ex. You see stories all the time about people who were fired or got in trouble because of Facebook updates. And for those of you who think that you can post passive aggressive statuses without people knowing what you’re talking about—you’re wrong. Dead wrong. Twitter, though, can provide you an anonymous outlet. You can send your thoughts/harassing messages to celebrities out there into the ether and the only people who will read them are the Asian spambots that are following you. And unlike Facebook, you can keep your Twitter account a secret easily since it doesn’t have to be tied to your name. Twitter gives you what Facebook and the AOL Instant Messenger Buddy Profile never could.